In spite of the many changes which have affected the construction industry in the past two decades its structure has remained largely unaltered, with a small number of very large firms and a vast number of small firms swollen recently by the move towards self-employment. In 1987 the thirty-five large firms employing more than 1200 persons accounted for 18 per cent of the new workload compared with 134 000 firms employing 1–3 persons (i.e. not including self-employed) with 9 per cent of the workload of the industry.’ Table 1.1 shows in more detail the distribution of the work done, analysed by the size of firm (measured by numbers employed) as well as by the number of firms involved. The firms which took part in the interviews probably accounted for nearly two-thirds of the work done by the largest category of firms, or say £2500 million of work. Their total turnover was much greater than this because of all their other activities.
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